Sometimes fans will react negatively to a player from a school because a previous prospect that plays the same position turned out to be a bust for the New York Giants. I realized that after my Sean Renfree post (Duke quarterback), but hopefully most won't have the same reaction when we use today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at another University of North Carolina Tar Heels defensive tackle (Marvin Austin was also one) with Sylvester Williams.
I mocked Williams to the Giants in my Big Blue View off-season plan right before the start of free agency. That, coupled with the fact that Russ Lande of the National Football Post has mentioned that some scouts think he is the best defensive tackle in the draft and that he has him ranked 11th overall on his big board and there is a possibility he could be the Giants selection in the first round. Lande is a bit of a contrarian and his rankings are a bit cooky, but sometimes they pan out ( I remember that he loved Geno Atkins more than most, and Athyba Rubin, as well).
Even though I liked Williams I re-watched some games, and I like him even more than I did before and believe he is worth a first-round pick. Though 19 is still a touch high, I'd be okay with the pick. I'd love it in the second round.
Very good size (6-foot-3, 313 pounds) with good arm length (33.5 inches). Williams is a versatile interior defensive linemen because he is stout and strong enough to hold up two gaps (think could play nose tackle or either end in the 3-4), but also plays with good pad leverage and can shoot gaps (think defensive tackle who can effectively rush the passer). Williams is also a violent tackler and a good tackler. He had a very productive season (42 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks). He often flashes a terrific motor, but like most heavy college football players (who can't have the time, training, finances to make conditioning a 365-day a year job like NFL players can) he'll wear down.
Consistency is an issue for Williams. He doesn't have a ton of moves to beat offensive linemen (over-uses the swim move), but he has only had two years of coaching at UNC. Before that he was a walk on junior college player. He'll have to improve his technique and consistency to truly excel in the NFL. Williams is a little bit older (will turn 24 next year). He has very good quickness for his size and is versatile, but might not be a standout at any one position. He can be over aggressive on screens and runs to take himself out of the play.
Player comparison: Terrance Knighton, Jaguars (nfl.com), Geno Atkins (bucky brooks, nfl.com), Gerard Warren (cbs sports)
Does He Fit With The Giants?
I believe Williams fits with every team. He has great size and plus athleticism for his size. He could be a player that you want on the field to stop the run or rush the passer.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View Board-49 (but will be higher on my final big board)
Here is what two scouts said about Williams to columnist Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"He's actually quicker than all the other top guys," one scout said. "He's not a star but he's an interesting cat. He comes from nothing. He could be a late first-round pick." "He's not great at anything but he's really good at everything," another scout said. "Really tough. Plays with injuries. He just kind of sits in there and battles and makes plays. He's not a wow kind of guy. He makes a play or two in every game that means something."
I really like Williams. I'm moving him up on my board because I believe that his flaws are mostly coachable and in the right situation I think he can definitely be a Pro Bowl player. He has size, quickness, and Mcginn's scout says he has a reputation of playing through injuries (and playing well). I also think when the NFL is your full-time job and you have no school to worry about, and the finances and access to personal trainers and diet experts conditioning can is easier to maintain. Williams is a self-made player -- he wasn't highly recruited out of high school (he only played one year) and worked in a factory until he decided that he wanted to give football another chance. He enrolled in junior college made the team and dominated and then transferred to UNC to play. He seems like a guy who will put in the more than the necessary work to get it done, and a guy who has a passion for football plus the size and athleticism to be good at it and I have no issue if he ends up with the Giants in the first round or second round, even though Marvin Austin hasn't panned out.
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